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Old Jan 24, 2007, 2:17 PM   #1
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This is directed at anyone who wishes to help.

I am very new to all of this and the K100D is myfirst DSLR. I have gotten some great shots with it so far, but I can't help but feel like the good ones were always by accident. I'm still trying to learn the basics of the camera and the basics of photography in general.

Since the weather has been so cold lately, the bulk of my photography has been indoors at events like my son's wrestling matches at school.These are very tricky because the distance does not allow me to use a flash and I need to use my longest lens (Tamron 70-300mm). Just by playing around, I have stumbled across settings which give me pretty niceresults....untill someone moves. If everyone is still,the shots are in focus and the white balance looks great. But as soon as there is any movement, I get total blur. I can't seem to find the magic formula that will allow me to capture movementin low light without a flash. Can it be done? Can it be done with a K100D and my lenses? I see so many great indoor action shots taken by pro's at things like NBA Basketball games. How do they get those? Thanks for any help.
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Old Jan 24, 2007, 3:01 PM   #2
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The aperture of your Tamron lens goes to 5.6 at 300mm and it is just not fast enough for the kind of shooting you describe. You will have to buy at the very least that is 2.8 and that kind of lens gets very pricey. Indoor sports shots takes some very expensive glass to get the results you are after.

At 5.6 you can't get the minimum 1/500th of a sec. shutter speed to freeze the action indoors.

Shoot at higher iso 1600, 3200 as well if you only have the Tamron 70-300mm to work with. That way you can keep up that shutter speed.


Tamron makes two 2.8 lenses which are very good. I use the 28-75mm XR Di ($369)with great results. I am looking to get the 90mm Dimacro lens ($399). Prices quoted are with rebate included.

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Old Jan 24, 2007, 3:08 PM   #3
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Gadgetnut,

Below is a picture I took with my DL. The gym I took it in is probably lit about the same as the one you were talking about. I used the kit lens and no flash. I also set the ISO to 1600. The camera was set at F4 and 1/45 of a second. The only post processing was cropping. There is a bit of blur, but it is actually better because it indicates action.

As far as what you see in sports magazines, they use very long, very expensive lenses that let in a lot of light. For example, Canon makes a 400mm lens that has its widest F-stop at 2.8. That will let in a lot of light and it is a very sharp lens. The cost? Over $6000.

Hope this helps. Just keep shooting and try all sorts of F-stop, shutter speed and ISO combinations until you find something that works for you.

Glenn
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Old Jan 24, 2007, 3:11 PM   #4
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vIZnquest wrote:
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The aperture of your Tamron lens goes to 5.6 at 300mm and it is just not fast enough for the kind of shooting you describe. You will have to buy at the very least that is 2.8 and that kind of lens gets very pricey. Indoor sports shots takes some very expensive glass to get the results you are after.

At 5.6 you can't get the minimum 1/500th of a sec. shutter speed to freeze the action indoors.
Okay..that makes sense to me. That also explains why I haven't stumbled upon a combination of settings that has worked. Do you have any recommendations as to how I should set the camera for the equipment I do have? I may not be able to freeze the action, but maybe I can eliminate a little more of the blur. Thanks!
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Old Jan 24, 2007, 3:14 PM   #5
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Lyrics51 wrote:
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Gadgetnut,

Below is a picture I took with my DL. The gym I took it in is probably lit about the same as the one you were talking about. I used the kit lens and no flash. I also set the ISO to 1600. The camera was set at F4 and 1/45 of a second. The only post processing was cropping. There is a bit of blur, but it is actually better because it indicates action.

As far as what you see in sports magazines, they use very long, very expensive lenses that let in a lot of light. For example, Canon makes a 400mm lens that has its widest F-stop at 2.8. That will let in a lot of light and it is a very sharp lens. The cost? Over $6000.

Hope this helps. Just keep shooting and try all sorts of F-stop, shutter speed and ISO combinations until you find something that works for you.

Glenn
That shot looks really good. Yeah, I see what you mean about the lens. I guess if I want better results, I need to start saving!
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Old Jan 24, 2007, 3:53 PM   #6
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Nice shot Glenn. Serves as a good reminder that while expensive pro lenses are nice, they are not necessary to get good quality photos. If we alter expectations a little bit (in this case being willing/able to use motion blur to your advantage) then excellent photots are within reach for all of us. Thanks for helping me to remember that it is about the photographer, not the equipment!

Chris
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Old Jan 24, 2007, 8:05 PM   #7
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Don't get me wrong, I'm having a great time with my camera. I was just wondering if I was doing something wrong and better indoor action shots were possible with my setup. I can live with the fact that if I want those shots to look better I will need to invest in a better lens.
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Old Jan 24, 2007, 9:18 PM   #8
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gadgetnut wrote:
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Since the weather has been so cold lately, the bulk of my photography has been indoors at events like my son's wrestling matches at school.These are very tricky because the distance does not allow me to use a flash and I need to use my longest lens (Tamron 70-300mm). Just by playing around, I have stumbled across settings which give me pretty niceresults....untill someone moves. If everyone is still,the shots are in focus and the white balance looks great. But as soon as there is any movement, I get total blur. I can't seem to find the magic formula that will allow me to capture movementin low light without a flash. Can it be done? Can it be done with a K100D and my lenses? I see so many great indoor action shots taken by pro's at things like NBA Basketball games. How do they get those? Thanks for any help.
I've recently been through this very struggle myself.

First, let's reason the problem through. In order to get shots that are nice and sharp, if the subjects are moving around - as athletes so often are - then you must use a reasonably fast shutter speed. In order to get the shutter speed fast enough, you must open up the aperture and/or make the sensor more sensitive (i.e., raise the ISO). NOTE that the shake reduction in your K100D helps keep your movement or the camera's movement from wrecking the shot, but it does nothing at all to freeze the subject. NOTE ALSO that raising the ISO is not nearly as good as opening up the aperture, because the higher the ISO, the greater the noise in the shot. So clearly, the best solution to the problem is to get a faster lens - that is, one that has a bigger aperture.

Now, what's a reasonably fast shutter speed? Difficult to tell. I don't agree that it must be at least 1/500s. I have had success shooting girls playing basketball with shutter speeds as low as 1/60s - although at that speed, you really have to be careful where you stand, and you must expect that there will be at least some blurring of hands and feet in your shots. I now like to go no slower than 1/200s, and I prefer to keep the shutter faster than that, if I can.

As for the aperture, it has been pointed out already that the lens you are using now has a variable maximum aperture, meaning that the bigger the focal length, the smaller the aperture. My Tamron 18-200 lens has a max aperture of f/3.5 at 18mm, which isn't too bad, but at 50mm the max is only f/4.5, which means that the lens gets slower (lets less light in) the more I use the telephoto capability. To maximize the aperture in the lens you've got, DON'T USE THAT ZOOM. If I understand which lens you're using, even at its minimum focal length (70mm) it's got a max aperture of f/4, which is great for shooting outdoors during the day but not so good for shooting indoors in bad light. Still, that's where I would suggest you start. Set your lens at 70mm and LEAVE IT THERE. Adjust the ISO so you can get at least 1/120s shutter speed and see what you think of the results.

You could use the kit lens, but you only get the f/3.5 at the widest angle. At 55mm - a much more reasonable focal length for shooting indoor sports - the best you can do is f/5.6. So you are better off using your 70-200 at 70mm and getting that f/4.

If you don't like the results, well, then the next thing to do is get a faster lens. I purchased a Sigma 28-70 F2.8 EX DG. The nice thing about this lens is that the maximum aperture is NOT variable: I have 2.8 available to me all the way from 28 to 70. The downside is that it's a little more expensive. I paid close to $400 for it; I've seen it selling for closer to $350, but not much below that. It has made a difference to my basketball photography, though. I now have a nice Pentax 50mm F1.4 prime lens, but it's manual focus only which is a bit of a pain; and I like the fact that the Sigma lens gives me a bit of zoom capability. Next weekend, though, I plan to give the Pentax prime at least a little time on the court and see what it can do.

I can't figure out how to embed hyperlinks in this answer in a way that works. Clicking the links below seems just to take you to the galleries, not to the individual shots. I recommend that instead of clicking, you copy each link and get rid of the < and >, and paste them into a new tab or window in your browser. I'm uploading the second shot as an attachment, too.

BEFORE (f/5.6, 1/125s @ ISO 3200): http://picasaweb.google.com/wmb.porter/20070106BasketballSBSVsSPX/photo#5017004798827099778

AFTER (f/2.8, 1/500s @ ISO 1600):
http://picasaweb.google.com/wmb.porter/20070120Basketball/photo#5022718696872862706

Note that the focal lengths are nearly identical (68mm vs 70mm). In the first shot, you can see that the players' extremities are blurred from movement, although the central body is satisfactory if you lower your standards. This shot is also very noisy. In the second shot, everything is pretty clear and there's less noise, too.

Two final points.

First, although I generally try to follow the idea of "shooting to the right" (i.e., to the right side of the histogram, in other words, to slightly overexpose images), when I'm shooting indoor sports, I shoot to the left, that is, I allow very slight underexposure. Better to get a sharp picture that's a little dark than a brighter picture in which things are out of focus or there's a lot of noise.

Second, one of the K100D's few serious weaknesses is shooting in continuous mode. Even if you shoot to JPEG, you can only capture about five shots in quick succession before the buffer gets constipated. Shooting Raw, it's TWO shots - and you don't recover from a full buffer as quickly, either. I have been shooting Raw most of the time lately, but I switch to JPEG when shooting basketball. I like being able to take several shots as a girl is rushing the basket - so I can catch the attack, the shot (fifth graders don't to lay-ups!) and the ball falling into the basket.

Hope this helps. As I said, I've recently been through all of this myself.

Will
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Old Jan 24, 2007, 9:30 PM   #9
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Will,

That's a nice shot. Clear, bright and definately shows action.

Glenn
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Old Jan 24, 2007, 10:08 PM   #10
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Like Polytrope I've been through this, shooting my daughter in cheerleading class with a bridge camera long zoom and now with my K100D. The key to avoiding motion blur is to keep the shutter speed down, which sometimes means limiting your use of zoom. You can fix lack of zoom to *some* extent by cropping in post-processing, but there isn't much you can do about motion blur.

But you don't literally have to keep the 70-300 at 70mm; you just need to stay aware of the aperture breakpoints. On my K100D with the Tamron 70-300 attached, max aperture is F4 from 70-120mm, F4.5 from there to 220mm, and F5.6 above that. So anything at or below 120mm should be the same as 70mm. Even up to 220mm, you're still at F4.5, which is only a minor loss over F4. The big problem comes when you zoom past 220mm, because F4.5 to F5.6 is a big jump, which could cause a 50%+ increase in shutter speed if everything else is constant.

Breakpoints will differ for each lens. To find the breakpoints, at minimum zoom, with the camera in Av mode and the aperture set to F4, zoom forward slowly and watch where the aperture changes (the fstop will change as the lens' maximum aperture gets smaller).

--Brett
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